The WashingtonPost - Metro - Local News
Sunday, November 27, 1977
'Digirata' A Product Of an Obscure Blogger
By Elearnor L. Batz, WP Staff Writer
Coumnists have quoted it in their syndicated advice columns. Millions ofAmericans and others around the world have seen it online on blogs and forums.
"Digirata", an inspirational prose-poem of gentle language has been heralded as a beacon of light
illuminating modern-day Internet manners, or lack thereof, and the need to unplug from time to time. Offering
common-sense advice for enjoying life ("Go placidly amid the hot links and
the distractions... ") it has become world-famous in the blogosphere
as a credo for living joyfully and peacefully online in this Digital Age.
The Digirata has no claimed authorship, but this reporter discovered that it was in fact written by an obsure
blogger concerned about cyberstalking and cyberbullying and other pitfalls of the online life. He said
he preferred to remain anonynous as the author fo the Digirata because the ideas come from many people,
and he merely took the current zeitgeist and tried to write a poem around the ideas that should guide
Internet life, while using the basic format of the old Desiderata as his template. He made no copyright claims
on his poem either, he said in a recent email, and offered it as gift to anyone online to use it at they wish.
The man said his real love was writing, especially philosophical poems
and plays. He composed "Digirata" in a few hours on August 13, he said, his late father's birthday, by
coincidence he noted. He said he wrote the Digirata out of need to remind himself how he wanted to live his
life. (The title of the original Desiderta poem is Latin and means "things to be desired.")
In the meantime, the Desiderata's current publisher, Robert L. Bell of
Florida, is doing all he can to keep things kosher. Bell, who
bought the rights to Max Ehrmann's poems from a nephew, says he spends much
of his time "chasing infringers," both in and out of court rooms. At
stake is not only Max Ehrmann's reputation as the author of the Desiderata, but the royalties on a
"Desiderata" retail market that bell estimates runs around US$1 million
What impact the new Digirata of 2010 will have on the old Desiderata of 1927 is not possible to fathom yet,
but since the Digirata's anonymous author claims no copyright and has no desire to receive any payment
or royalties from its publication, it will probably not affect the Desiderata empire, according to publishing sources.